The Crown Prosecution Service has defended the decision to prosecute the former England captain John Terry after he was acquitted today of an aggravated public order offence against Anton Ferdinand.
The England and Chelsea defender was acquitted of calling Ferdinand a “f****** black c***” during a Premier League game at QPR on October 23 last year.
Chief magistrate Howard Riddle cleared the 31-year-old of a racially aggravated public order offence at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Giving his verdict, Mr Riddle said the case was not about “whether Mr Terry is a racist in the broadest sense of the word”.
He said he had heard a great deal of evidence to show that he is not.
“It is understandable why Mr Terry wants to make this point, his reputation is at stake,” he said.
Alison Saunders, chief crown prosecutor for London, said: “The very serious allegation at the heart of this case was one of racial abuse.
“It was our view that this was not ’banter’ on the football pitch and that the allegation should be judged by a court.
“The Chief Magistrate agreed that Mr Terry had a case to answer, but having heard all of the evidence he acquitted Mr Terry of a racially aggravated offence.
“That is justice being done and we respect the Chief Magistrate’s decision.”
Leaving court, Ferdinand's parents, Julian Ferdinand and Janice Lavender, who attended every day of the trial, declined to comment.
Mr Ferdinand said: “I have nothing to say to you at all.”
Outside the court, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: ``Chelsea Football Club notes and, of course, we respect the decision of the magistrate today. We are pleased that John can now put his mind to football and go back to training and do what he's done for many years.''
Dan Morrison, Terry’s lawyer, said outside court: “The court has today acquitted John Terry of all charges.
“He has consistently explained his position to the FA, the police and to the court.
“He did not racially abuse Mr Ferdinand and the court has accepted this.
“John would like to thank his legal team for their hard work and his family, friends and Chelsea Football Club for their support.”